"Bring along a rod". Those were the closing words as we finalised arrangements to review the plate alloy Allison Arafura 470 side console.
For the record, I've taken tackle along on boats reviews more often than I've had hot breakfasts, but fish have been usually few and far between, catches very memorable indeed.
This review was different. Just after leaving the ramp, the sight of airborne baitfish saw us grabbing light gear and preparing to cast.
As we silently cruised forward towards the action I became aware of just how quietly the Allison's foam filled hull was gliding forward, plus the near total lack of sound from the four stroke 70hp on the transom.
And as the first fish came aboard I was also grateful for the amount of work room up forward on the craft's casting deck, plus the fact that despite the total lack of any strakes beneath the 4mm thick plate alloy bottom, the Arafura 470 did not tend to lean overly much as we reached for our fish. No landing net? Of course not.
With a feed stored away in fairly rapid time we devoted ourselves to putting the Arafura through it’s paces.
This craft is virtually all fishing room and Allison Boats have ensured that the layout makes best use of this feature.
Up front a wide carpet lined anchor well was serviced with a bollard and cleat, an electric motor mount pointing to starboard and grab rails mounted on the 38 cm wide fully-welded decks.
Built into the carpet-lined floor of the forward cast deck were two storage hatches, a seat base and a flush mount spigot mounted centrally. One or two anglers could fish up here quite comfortably in my view.
Stepping down around 25cm sees the angler into the main work area, where another three seat positions plus a neat but functional side console welcomes the driver onto an exceptionally well-padded pedestal seat.
The rail and windscreen equipped console featured a Humminbird 788 D sounder GPs combo on a flat section immediately behind the tinted screen with all the gauges: fuel and trim gauges plus a bank of switches lower and to starboard.
Forward controls were mounted on the side, handy, and ideally situated. One thing of note was that although the driver’s pedestal seat did not feature adjustment the driving position was still quite comfortable with steering wheel linked to non-feedback steering and the engine controls were easily managed.
Storage space within the 4.95 Allison Arafura was available within the base of the console and would be useful insofar as keeping certain items handy but out of the weather. Further storage was available within a cockpit side pocket to port.
For test runs we opted for a side-by-side seating set up, even though the forward seat position adjacent the console was available. I did note that the craft was very well balanced with this set up and rode extremely level at all times.
Stern features consist of grab rails, another pair of rod holders to compliment the pair amidships, and low but strong aft grab rails. Cockpit depth was around the 700mm mark.
A wide, off-floor full width shelf was set up with the craft’s engine battery while a fuel filter was mounted within the starboard corner of the transom and within easy reach, which is as it should be.
The 70hp four stroke engine was set up on a pod astern and in a stylish touch the craft’s sides sloped aft into a sleek Portofino style extension of the hull, which was quite eye catching. A transducer bracket was standard fitment, as was a 1150gph bilge pump in a sump aft.
The transom was of a full height: greatly enhancing the sea-keeping ability of this neat rig with its 700mm freeboard all round.
My view is that the craft would be equally at home in the estuary/bay/river/lake situation with the chance of a run off shore in ideal conditions.
The strongly-built all-plate Allison is rated for engines from 50-90hp, which saw the 70hp four stroke as fitted towards the middle of the power scale.
That aside I had nothing but praise for engine size and was very impressed with its willingness.
The solidly built plate hull - with two aboard - planed at 21.6kmh at 2800rpm. 3000rpm saw 23.3kmh on the GPS, 4000rpm 36.4kmh, 5000rpm 46.8kmh and 5500rpm a nifty 52.6kmh.
The Allison impressed me with its ride. Cutting across wash and chop throughout river and bay area caused very little impact and thanks to the foam fill the hull was very quiet under way.
The hull, with its 15C, dug into corners very well and even hard turns produced very little side slip. The impression I gained was one of balance in that the craft handled easily with very little input from the driver so far as throttle and steering effort were concerned.
At rest the Arafura 4.95 hull settled into the water quite well and despite the lack of strakes on the 4mm thick bottom surface the hull certainly did not lean excessively as we moved around in the craft.
In semi-smooth water the ride was dry but cross winds and chop might naturally see some spray about the place same as in any other open boat of this size.
The Allison Arafura 4.95 side console would be ideally suited to either family or more serious fishing pursuits. Freeboard is good, there is ample room to move about and with the interchangeable seating arrangements balance of the craft is an easy matter if four folk (five is maximum) and I noted no sharp projections or the like to spoil the day if one were to lose balance.
The factory-fitting of a live well would be a bonus for the more dedicated angler.
Carried on a Dunbier 1180kg braked trailer I noted there were no launch or retrieval issues experienced and towing was very easy.
This well-built and well-finished rig with its eye catching decals appears to be a very versatile craft suited to many styles of fishing.
The high sided and full height transom are a bonus so far as sea keeping is concerned and a run off shore in calm conditions would always be a possibility.
Power wise I would stick with the 70hp four stroke unless four persons or more would be the usual compliment aboard. If the boat were to be used at high altitude lakes such as Tasmania or the Snowy Mountains then a higher powered engine would be recommended.
To find your nearest dealer and sort out a test drive, head to www.allisonboats.com.au.
Baymarine Sales and Service
8 Ashley Park Drive
Victoria, Australia, 3196
Phone : +61-3-9772-1999
Fax : +61-3-9772-1311
Email : --e-mail address hidden--
|Hull:||3mm sides, 4mm bottom.|
|Engine fitted:||60hp four stroke|
|Overall length:||BMT 6.150m|
|Overall weight:||BMT 850kg|
|Towing:||Family six cylinder sedan|